The Importance of Mentoring
10 January, 2022
Author: Pick Everard
With National Mentoring Month upon us, Pick Everard Learning & Development Advisor Tasmin Chamberlain discusses the importance of why mentoring for mentees, mentors and businesses, is vital.
Mentoring provides a vast array of benefits to us all. Mentoring is essentially about helping people to develop more effectively. It is a relationship designed to build confidence and support the mentee, so they can take control of their own development and work. Mentoring has always happened informally at Pick Everard, however we see that there are numerous benefits of having a structured approach, which I have been reflecting on from our new mentoring programme, RISE.
Mentoring is not the same as training, teaching, or coaching, and a mentor doesn’t need to be a qualified trainer or an expert in the role the mentee carries out. They need to be a sounding board, able to listen and ask questions that will challenge the mentee to identify the course of action they need to take regarding their own development and actions. They can also refer to their past experiences and views. The following definition provides a useful insight:
“off-line help by one person to another in making significant transactions in knowledge, working or thinking” (Clutterbuck & Megginson 1995).
Off-line means an individual who is not the mentee’s direct line manager. A mentor is different from a line manager in that they will not have direct responsibility for the mentee’s work performance, but they will be responsible for encouraging the mentee to work towards their own individual objectives and be a motivating guide for the mentee on their journey.
A mentoring relationship can provide people with greater confidence and validation, encouraging each person and congratulating them when they have done a good job. This will help a person to perform better in their role and become a greater asset to a business. 74% of the FTSE 100 companies are part of a cross-company mentoring programme. In the UK, research found that 60% of business leaders have had a mentor, to which 97% of them advised that they benefitted from the advice they received.
Mentoring helps people in leadership roles, as well as those working to become one, to build up their leadership skills. It enables them to develop their internal networks, and provides access and insights into different areas of a business and groups of employees that they might not have had the opportunity to engage with before. This in turn helps them to develop a better and more inclusive communication style.
Strong mentoring relationships help to create a pipeline of talent to replace key employees when they leave a company and creates a safety net that ensures a succession of leadership. The search for talent is one of the most expensive and time-consuming endeavours a business can undertake. Growing and developing talent internally has a lot of cost savings and can relieve a great deal of pressure on management. Succession planning places value on an employee’s critical contributions to the success of the company and helps to boost their self-esteem.
Experts note that a mentoring relationship can prove critical in transmitting culture and values within a business, and it can be an integral part of succession planning. It can also help to motivate professional development, encourage goalsetting and progress tracking. Academic research shows that those who serve as mentors, report greater job satisfaction and greater fulfilment at work. Other research suggests that mentors perform better at work and see greater career success.
It is fair to say that implementing a mentoring programme is beneficial to all involved; increases motivation, creates stronger communication, better working relationships are developed and builds employee satisfaction.